It’s that time, with competition is in the air, when nations face off against each other in an ancient tradition. It’s time for the Eurovision Song Contest! And this year is especially special. Still relatively new to US audiences, with Logo broadcasting it in the states for the first time, Eurovision is a glorious, glamorous, gaudy Super Bowl of Song. Will it be show stateside again this year? Who knows, as Logo only announced their plans in 2016 less than two weeks before the event. But I’m here to tell you of the glory, and remind you to seek it out if possible.
Semi-final 1: 9 May 2017
Semi-final 2: 11 May 2017
Final: 13 May 2017
Hopefully they will grace the air with the contest again, and even if you don’t get the channel, I believe they had the live stream up on their site. If it’s not shown on Logo, or it is but you don’t have access to it, there’s not many other local legal methods to see it. There’s also the BBC, if you have a proxy or remote service subscription. There’s also the official YouTube channel, although I have been getting intermittent issues with region locking on certain videos.
But how do you get into Eurovision?, you may ask. Like many competitions, there are little rules a newcomer can utilize in order to grow investment. In the Super Bowl, for example, I generally root for the underdog team. That, or whichever team has the fewest number of accused rapists and abusers. In Eurovision, like the Olympics, you always have the option of going by country. This can be by locality, although that’s a bit hard for US fans as we’re not represented and England is always pretty terrible. Our household like a bit of local flavor and so performing, in whole or at least partially, in their country’s language get them bonus points from us. English is almost painfully ubiquitous in Eurovision, and this year only Portugal, Hungary, Croatia, Belarus, Spain, Italy, and France have non-English or partially English performances. That’s seven performers out of forty-three. Of course, you can also do it by politics, which is especially apt this year. You probably haven’t heard, but there’s already been a bit of an international hubbub between the Ukraine and Russia. Would you like some drama?
Last year Russia seemed prime for a win. Sergey Lazarev, with You Are The Only One, had an impressive, if sterile, stage show that heavily utilized projection and recessed steps. The Ukraine came from behind to win with Jamala performing “1944”. What was particularly sharp about Russia’s loss was that the winning song was that it was about the Crimean deportations carried out by the Soviet Union in the 1940s. And now for the 2017 competition, the Ukraine has barred Russia’s performer from entering the country. That’s because she toured in Crimea and the Ukraine’s security and travel laws state that entering Crimea from Russia is illegal. that puts Russia’s Yulia Samoylova under a three-year travel ban that runs from her entry in 2015 into 2018. Russia’s response to this is to pull their broadcast of the entire competition.
All of this shows what a strange beast the Eurovision Song Contest is, especially to an outsider. It’s campy and full of glam, but that means it’s not taken as seriously as something like the Olympics. That weird balance of international competition and, well, pageantry opens the door to things like this international incident. It’s important enough for countries to get their hackles up, but not enough so that the Ukraine will make an exception to their travel bans for a border crossing.
Our next Eurovision post will have our highlights of the semi-finals performers.
Have any favorites? Rooting for or against Russia? Let us know in the comments.